How To Stop A Begging Dog
Dr. Joyce Ashamalla
Dr. Joyce Ashamalla is the managing partner at Hinsdale Animal Hospital with Kremer Veterinary Service, as well as a partner at CARE Animal Emergency Hospital. She received her BS in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois- Champaign Urbana, where she also completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2007. She is AO certified, USDA-APHIS accredited, and is a member of the CVMA, ISVMA, AVMA.
Have you ever walked into your house after a long day and encountered the most enchanting smelling aroma? By the time you get to the kitchen, it’s almost like you are floating through the air as your nose rides on an invisible gulf stream of deliciousness. Now think about your poor dog. She has a much more sensitive nose and yummy food smells are almost irresistible to her. So it’s no wonder that when you finally sit down at the dining room table to eat, you look down and see an eagerly twitching, button nose attached to 2 little hopeful eyes staring back at you.
Congratulations, you have a begging dog on your hands. While this activity at first can be cute, it quickly will become annoying. In this blog, we will answer why do dogs beg, how to prevent it, and how to stop a dog from begging if the bad habit is already well entrenched.
Why Do Dogs Beg?
For the most part, if we want to find the reason as to why do dogs beg, we usually just need to look in the mirror – at ourselves. A begging dog is absolutely a learned response/behavior. When a dog stares, paws at you, cries or barks for something and a pet owner "gives in" by slipping the animal some food, your canine companion has learned that begging works! Food is not the only thing for which dogs have learned how to beg. Dogs quickly learn also that if they beg for affection/attention or the proverbial rub behind the ears and their owners deliver the "goods" to them, the animal quickly establishes a mental and emotional connection between getting what they want and begging.
How To Stop A Dog From Begging
Of course the best way to stop a begging dog is to never get her in the habit of doing it in the first place. But for most pet owners, it’s too late for that. In the end, begging is really just another type of a classical conditioning, teaching/training issue. With that said, here are some helpful tips on how to stop a dog from begging.
• Eat At The Same Time – This is more of a trick than a strategy, but try feeding your dog at the same time you eat, but not in the same location. For at least some of your meal time, she will be preoccupied with her own food.
• Just Say No – The abrupt stopping of giving in to your begging dog can be hard on both of you, but eventually the dog will get the hint and in most cases stop the behavior. Don’t be tempted to relapse, even once, as the begging could easily start again.
• Access Denied – You ask how to stop a dog from begging? By denying your dog access to you when food prepping or at the actual dinner table! This pretty much stops the behavior right away. Put up a baby gate in between rooms and give the dog a toy (such as a Kong with a biscuit in it) as a way to distract her. If she cries, barks or tries to get your attention another way, redirect her behavior by telling her to lay down, sit or some other kind of command.
Above all, it’s important to remember that punishment is not an effective strategy when it comes to resolving how to stop a dog from begging. This kind of approach will only cause the animal to be confused, which can lead to other behavior problems.
A begging dog can be so annoying that sometimes if just feels better to surrender and give the animal what she wants. But in the long run, this will not benefit either of you. Of course the best cure for a begging dog is preventing it in the first place. But if you find yourself with a hounding pooch, the above strategies should be a great help in breaking the habit.
If you feel that your at home training aimed at breaking the begging habit is not working, you can always seek the help of a professional trainer. In addition, ask your vet about successful techniques they have found for how to stop a dog from begging.
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